The Risks and Benefits of Therapy

From the title of this post, I bet you're wondering what kind of risk is associated with therapy. In therapy, there is a risk that clients will, for a time, have uncomfortable levels of anxiety, sadness, guilt, anger, frustration, loneliness, helplessness, or other negative feelings. Clients may recall unpleasant memories. These feelings or memories may bother a client at work or in school. In addition, some people in your social circle may mistakenly view anyone in therapy as weak, or perhaps emotionally unstable. Also, clients in therapy may have problems with people important to them. Family secrets may be told. Therapy may disrupt a significant relationship and sometimes may even lead to a divorce. Sometimes, too, a client’s problems may temporarily worsen after the beginning of treatment. Most of these risks are to be expected when people are making important changes in their lives. Finally, even with our best efforts, there is a risk that therapy may not work out well for you. While you should consider these risks, you should also know that the benefits of therapy are more plentiful than the risks in most cases. People who are depressed may find their mood lifting. Others may no longer feel afraid, angry, or anxious. In therapy, you have an opportunity to talk things out fully until your feelings are relieved or the problems are solved. Your relationships and coping skills may improve greatly. You may get more satisfaction out of social and family relationships. Your personal goals and values may become clearer and more likely to be achieved. My clients may grow in many directions – as individuals, in their personal relationships, in their work or schooling, on their spiritual paths, and in the ability to enjoy their lives. While there is hope that improvement will occur as part of the therapeutic process, there is no guarantee. However, I do not accept clients into my practice that I do not think I can help. Therefore, I will enter our relationship with optimism about our progress. If you could benefit from a treatment that I cannot provide, I will try to help you to get it. Based on what I learn about your problems, I may recommend that you consult with a physician or other professional. If I do this, I will fully discuss my reasons with you, so that you can decide what is best. If you are treated by another professional, with your permission I will coordinate my services with them and with your own medical doctor. If for some reason treatment is not going well, I may suggest that you see another therapist or another professional. As a responsible person and ethical therapist, I cannot continue to treat you if my treatment is not working for you. If you wish for another professional’s opinion at any time, or wish to talk with another therapist, I can help you find a qualified person and will provide him or her with the information needed.